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President Isaac B. Lee 

Vice-President Jacob George 

Vice-President John McCollister 

Secretary J oseph Walker 

Treasurer ^ W. J. Weeber 

Editor of Annual O. A. Byington 

Necrologist Euth Osborne 


On Grounds — Jacob Metzger, W. E. C. Foster 

On Program — Isaac B. Lee, O. A. Byington 

On Music — A. C. Howell, Mrs. L. G. Lawyer, W. J. Weebe 


The annual meeting of the Old Settlers' Association of 
Johnson County was held at the City Park in Iowa City 
on Thursday, September 5, 1922. 

Beautiful weather greeted the Old Settlers and a large 
crowd gathered for the meeting. Many came with well 
filled baskets in the forenoon and enjoyed a picnic dinner 
in the shade of the trees, there being many family gath- 

After dinner the crowd gathered before the speaker's 
ftff^nrl nnr! lisfpTied to a verv interesting address by Hon. 
Edgar R. Harlan, the Curator of the State Historical De- 
partment of Iowa. 

An old fashioned fiddle band entertained the gathering 
with many old time familiar tunes to the enjoyment of all 
those present. 

The following officers of the Association were elected 
for the ensuing year : 

President Isaac B. Lee 

Vice-President Jacob George 

Vice-President John McCollister 

Secretary Joseph Walker 

Treasurer W. J. Weeber 

Necrologist Ruth Osborne 

Editor of Annual 0. A. Byington 


In the Annual of 1922, ^ve printed some facts relative to 
the location of the Territorial Capital at Iowa City, and 
included some early history of Iowa City. 

The location of the First County Seat of Johnson County 
is also a matter of interest to old settlers and we will give 
in this article briefly some of the incidents connected with 
the location of our first County Seat. 

There are twelve counties in the United States named 

Johnson'', all being named in honor of Richard M. John- 
son, Vice-Presiaent of the United States during the Van 
Buren administration, and the man history credits with 
having killed the war-like Indian chief, Tecumseh. 

Johnson County was created by an act of the territorial 
legislature approved on December 31, 1837, the act creating 
fourteen counties in the eastern portion of the present State 
of Iowa. 

Sec. 16 of the act provided that Johnson County for tem- 
porary purposes should be attached to the County of Cedar. 

The first administrative act remaining of record was an 
order dated May 28, 1838, signed by the Sheriff of Cedar 
County, directing S. C. Trowbridge to take the census or 
enumeration of the inhabitants of the new County of John- 
son, then in the Territory of Wisconsin. 
. The following is the record of oath taken by him in 1838 : 

**You solumnly sware, that you will support the Consti- 
tution of the United States and the teritory of Iowa, and 
that you will well and truely perform the duties of assessor 
in and for the County of Johnson, and territory afforsaid, 
to the best of your Jcnowleg. So help you God. 

Johnson County Old Settlers* Association 5 

The bold and original method of spelling will be noted. 

day of , 1839, Luke Douglas, Clerk.'' 

**The above oath was legale administered by me this 

The County Seat Contest Between Napoleon and Osceola 
In 1837-38, the contest for the location of a County Seat 
arose, and as is usually the case the County Seats proposed 
were for some time on paper. 

The one called Napoleon, and being the first actual Coun- 
ty Seat of Johnson County, was located on Sec. 22, in the 
present To'vvnship of East Lucas, on the farm now owned 
and occupied by James McCollister. A log house, designed 
for a Court House, was erected, as well as one other small 
log cabin. 

The rival County Seat town was called Osceola, but it 
apparently never had any definite location. The town plat 
of Osceola appeared on paper showing churches, colleges, 
parks and a Court House. This plat was prepared and 
brought here by Judge Pleasant Harris. There was in- 
tense rivalry between the partisans of these two so-called 
towns. Some partisan of the paper town of Osceola, hav- 
ing written some doggerel poetry described as an Ode to 
Osceola, an advocate of the famous town of Napoleon, 
which was also at that time on paper, produced the follow- 
ing reply: 

Vain, feeble worm ! presumptuous boy ! 

How vain conceit doth lift thee up ! 
Ere long shall trouble mar thy joy, 

For bitter sorrow thou shalt sup. 

What hast thou done whereof to boast? 

What deeds of bravery or of skill? 
Did e'er thy voice conmaand a host, 

And with dread fear creation fill? 


Johnson County Old Settlers* Association 

Did not all Europe bow to me, 

And tremble when I gave command? 

Can now a feeble worm like thee 
Presume my fury to withstand? 

I'll rise once more with dreadful might 

And scatter devastation round; 
I'll cast thee from thy giddy height 

And lay thee level with the ground. 

Thy boasted church and stately tower, 
And monument with all its fame. 

Shall fall before my potent power, 
Nor dare to speak thy plebeian name. 

My true-born sons shall till the soil 
On which thy boasted city stands, 

While peace and plenty on them smiles 
In the protection of my hands. 

Judge Harris and his family brought from Indiana the 
plat of their proposed County Seat and looked about for a 
proper location. It was thought that the river bank just 
above the Wapashasheik Indian village was a favorable 
site, but the Indian title did not expire until October 31, 

John Gilbert, the Indian trader, was the leader for the 
rival County Seat. Gilbert had a trading house just over 
the line on the Indian land, a privilege obtained by Gilbert 
by furnishing certain barrels of whiskey to the Indians. 

Judge Harris, unable to obtain any concession from the 
Indians, built a claim cabin on the river bank just above the 
Indian village. They awaited the time when they could 
take legal possession of the land on which it stood for the 

Johnson County Old Settlers* Association 7 

purpose of establishing a County Seat. This cabin is under- 
stood to have been erected about a mile southwest of the 
present house of James McCollister on the bank of the 
river, and a short distance south of the town-site of Na- 

In the meantime, in order to circumvent the Osceola plan 
John Gilbert induced John Morford to come from Bloom- 
ington (now Muscatine) and locate upon the claim of the 
Napoleon town site. This was done with the consent of the 
Poweshiek Indians, who were on very friendly terms with 
Gilbert. Morford did not desire to enter into any County 
Seat contest, so he traded his claim to Philip Clark (the 
first white settler in Johnson County) for his farm in 
Pleasant Valley Township. Philip Clark, the then owner 
01 the town site eiaiin, iiiduced his brother-in-law, Peter 
Smith, to live in the townsite claim cabin, to hold possession. 
A surveyor from Muscatine County laid off an elaborate 
townsite plat at Napoleon, and thus there were two County 
Seats of Johnson County on paper, but neither had any 
legal existence. 

It was necessary to get some action from the territorial 
legislature, and in June, 1838, Col. S. C. Trowbridge mount- 
ed a horse and rode to Burlington, the special session of the 
legislature meeting there on June 11th. It will be noted 
that at the previous session the rival promoters of the paper 
towns of Napoleon and Osceola had been unable to secure 
any action on their location. Trowbridge had attended the 
previous session of the legislature and had acquired con- 
siderable acquaintance w^ith its members. He was therefore 
selected as the most eligible man to lobby through the 
County Seat location proposition. 

That his selection was justified appears from the fact 
that the journal of the second day of the session shows that 
Mr. Foley, the member from Dubuque County, presented a 

8 Johnson County Old Settlers' Association 

petition asking that the Seat of Justice of Johnson County 
be established at the town of Napoleon. The petition was 
referred to a select committee, which reported a bill on the 
14th of June, and the bill was read for the first time. The 
journal of June 18th shows that the bill was read a second 
time and ordered to be committed to the committee of the 
whole house. Upon consideration in committee of the whole, 
the bill was read a third time and j)assed (bv the Council) 
and messaged to the House of Representatives for concur- 

On June 20th, the House of Representatives concurred in 
the bill, and on June 22nd, it was signed by the President of 
the Council, and the next day it had received the approval 
of the Governor. 

Thus, the lirst County Seat of Johnson County was le- 
gally established at Napoleon. 

The establishment of the Territorial Capital at Iowa City, 
in 1839, at a point less than two miles from the Napoleon 
town plat necessarily sealed the fate of the town of Napo- 
leon. The removal of the County Seat was authorized by 
the Legislature in **An act to relocate the Seat of Justice 
in Johnson County" which was approved December 31, 
1839. This act recites: ^^That the Board of County Com- 
missioners in the County of Johnson, are hereby authorized 
to relocate and establish the Seat of Justice for the County 
of Johnson, being first sworn by any Judge or Justice of 
the Peace thereof, faithfully and impartially to relocate and 
establish the Seat of Justice of said County, taking into 
consideration the future as well as the present population 
of said County '\ 

The County Board was required to take this action within 
90 days after their next regular meeting. It was provided 
that when the Board had so done and their acts were made 
of record: '^The place selected shall be the seat of justice 

Johnson Cotinty Old Settlers' Association 9 

for said County." The following is the record of the Board 
meeting held on January 22, 1840: '^On motion of Henry 
Felkner, Esq., the Board of Commissioners repaired to 
view the several adjoining quarter sections of land to the 
Seat of Government, and upon examination, the commis- 
sioners decided upon the northwest quarter section of sec- 
tion 15, in T\^'p. 79, North, Eange 6, West of the 5th P. M. 
for the Seat of Justice for said County. 

Ordered by the Board of Commissioners that Philip 
Clark be authorized to repair to Dubuque, to enter if pos- 
sible the aforesaid quarter section of land for County pur- 

Philip Clark went to Dubuque and secured the preemp- 
tion of the land. The present Court House Square is located 
on tnis lana, ana tiie quarter section comprises about the 
southwest one-fourth of the City of Iowa City. 

The records show that Philip Clark was allowed $20.00 
for his trip to Dubuque and an additional $16.00 for his 
expenses on the trip. It would appear that the pioneer 
leaders were inexpensive officials in the performance of very 
important public duties. 

On November 19, 1840, the following record appears: 
**It is ordered by the Board that the Northwest Quarter of 
Sec. fifteen be laid out into blocks and lots, as foUows: 
Twenty-four Blocks to be surveyed off the north side at 
present, each block to be 320 feet square, including alleys, 
and north and south streets to correspond with the streets 
which run north and sooth in Iowa City; and the streets 
running east and west to be 80 feet wide, each block to be 
divided into 8 lots, and alley to be 20 feet wide.'' 

The sale of lots in the County Seat of Johnson County 
was ordered to take place on Alay 24, 1841, and continued 
from day to day at the discretion of the commissioners. 

The report of the first sale of lots was made on October 9, 

10 Johnson County Old Settlers' Association 

1841, and shows that in notes and cash the lots were sold for 

It will be observed that the permanent County Seat of 
Johnson County was practically laid out as an addition to 
the Territorial Capital, Iowa City. It was in reality a re- 
moval of the original County Seat from Napoleon to the 
City of Iowa City. 

From the foregoing record of the location of the first 
County Seat in Johnson County, it will be observed that the 
three men responsible for its location and who pulled the 
wires to secure the same, were Jolm Gilbert, S. C. Trow- 
bridge and Philip Clark. 

John Gilbert was an Indian trader and had a log trading 
house located in the northwest corner of the present Town- 
ship of Pieasani V aney. it was a double log house covered 
with one roof with an area space between the two ends. 
The house stood on the east side of the present public high- 
way running through the western part of Pleasant Valley 
Township, south of the bridge in the extreme northwest 
corner of the to\vnship. This building remained for many 
years and was burned and completely destroyed in an acci- 
dental fire about 30 years ago. 

Immediately after the location of the County Seat, at 
Napoleon, John Gilbert received a commission as post- 
master, but died the next day following its receipt. He was 
buried on his claim, but many years afterwards his body 
was removed and buried in the cemetery in Iowa City, but 
Ms grave is unmarked and unknown. As a trader with the 
Indians, he was very popular and seemed to possess their 
unlimited confidence. On the occasion of his funeral, there 
was a large gathering of the Indian tribes, who showed 
every evidence of deep regard and of sorrow at his passing. 

We quote the follow^ing from the Bistort/ of Johnson 
County published in 1912: **John Gilbert will ever remain 


Johnson County Old Settlers* Association 11 

as tlie Indian trader, and the friend of both the red and the 
white man in the early history of the county. 

During the excitement pending the location of the cap- 
ital of the territory, when the minds of the settlers about 
Napoleon were all in doubt and uncertainty, the man who 
had always been ready to advise and labor, sickened, and the 
care of all the settlement was now to make him well. It was 
not so ordered, for in spite of all their efforts he died in the 
last days of March, 1838. Just before his passing a com- 
mission had arrived making him postmaster of Napoleon. 

coffin of walnut was prepared by his friends and with 
saddened hearts both the natives and the comrades from the 
states paid him the last tribute as they laid him. away in the 
little garden he had fenced near the trading house. 

<<"\T/-» -nrn-r^Q woto spoken at this iutermeut, but the black- 
ened faces of the Indians were mute expressions of the sor- 
row they felt for the loss of the man who, they said, was 
always honest. 

John Gilbert was a native of New York. He began life 
among the Indians in Canada, as a fur trader, and continued 
the practice until his knowledge of the Indians became very 

'*Many years after his death his remains were removed to 
the Iowa City cemetery, but the place of his grave is not 
now kno^vn to any one." 

The second dominant figure in the location of the first 
county seat of Johnson County, and to whose finesse and 
efforts success was most largely attributable. Col. Samuel 
C. Trowbridge, lived in this community to an extreme old 
age, passing away in the year 1888. He is well remembered 
by many now living. 

He was always greatly interested in matters historical, 
and serv^ed as curator of the State Historical Society for 
many years. 

12 Johnson County Old Settlers' Association 

He was the first assessor and the first sheriff of this 
county, and was the fourth postmaster of Iowa City. 

He was sergeant-at-arms of the Constitutional Conven- 
tion of 1857, which framed the present constitution of Iowa. 

The third mepaber of the trio who secured the location of 
the county seat at Napoleon, Philip Clark, was the first per- 
manent white settler in Johnson County, and lived in the 
county until his death in 1891. He walked from Indiana to 
this county in 1836, and, locating a tract of ground, returned 
in May, 1837, and turned the first furrow that was ever 
plowed by a w^hite man in Johnson County. 

The Febst Court Proceedings in Johnson County 

AVe quote from the pen of the late T. S. Parvin a descrip- 
tion of the first session of court held in this county : 

**May 13th, 1839, as district attorney of the middle dis- 
trict, which included Jolmson County, we went to the town 
of Napoleon, a single house, the trading post of Phelps, 
managed by Gilbert, and held the first court, Joseph Wil- 
liams, the judge of the district, being a resident of Musca- 
tine. The latter appointed Luke Douglass clerk, and S. C. 
Trowbridge was the sheriff. 

'*He held court in the old trading house, having no win- 
dow, and it kept the sheriff and his deputy busy keeping the 
doorway clear so as to admit sufficient light to dispense 

Samuel H. McCrory was the first foreman of the grand 
jury who with all of his associates so far as we know, pre- 
ceded our friend, the sheriff, to the gateway of the court. 

petit jury was also empaneled, and we recollect that 
Philip Clark, the first settler of Johnson County, was one of. 
these jurors. 

When the grand jury had been sworn and charged, they 
were ordered to retire in charge of the bailiif , but where to 

Johnson County Old Settlers' Association 13 

go was the question, as there was no house to go to. We 
followed as in duty bound, and seeing a sawlog in the prai- 
rie nearby, hauled there the previous winter, we suggested 
that as a fit land mark, and mounting it made our first ad- 
dress to the first grand jury of Johnson County.'' 

A Picture of Pioneer Johnson County 

**It is not possible to picture all the individual under- 
takings of the first settlers ; a few will be typical of all the 

**They would tell much the same story if called into coun- 
cil in the present days : a log house of one room, often filled 
to overflowing to accommodate the new arrivals ; the plain- 
est of garments, home-spun, home-made, and food of little 

**They traveled long distances to secure supplies, the ox- 
team making the trip anything but swift. 

**The first products of the soil had to be carried to a dis- 
tant market by any conveyance available, and the receipt of 
pay was in goods only, no cash being otf ered. 

Certain kinds of goods at times could be secured by 
barter, cash in trade being demanded by the merchants for 
some supplies which the settler must have or he must do 
without them until cash was in hand. He crossed the track- 
less prairies and forded the bridgeless streams, taking all 
risks of narrow escapes in order to keep his family from 
extreme want, and to make a way for the development of the 
real property to which he hoped to gain a perfect title when 
the proper time should arrive. 

*^His citizenship was secure in the minds of all his right- 
eous neighbors and he only had to demand his just rights in 
order to get them before a jury of his peers. 

** There may have been times when he felt insecure in re- 
gard to his property because of the periods of outlawry, but 

14 Johnson County Old Settlers' Association 

there have been events in ^vhich he took part to rid the coun- 
ty of lawless and reckless characters who would not fear the 
civil law because it could not be made effective in his case. 
If the full histor}^ of the individual could be told he would 
not in all cases feel that he was innocent of any transgres- 
sion, although he acted at the time up to his knowledge of 
what he thought to be the best thing to do under the circum- 
stances. The stories of this period are not all entertaining, 
even if exciting, and they need to be told briefly enough to 
save the feelings of any survivor, and yet fully enough to 
tell the truth. ^' 

All the arrivals had the same experiences. . . . They 
would tell practically the same story of the trip they spent 
weeks in making. They brought stock, driving the cattle 
along with the train of wagons, and leisurely making the 
journey with the intention of remaining when they finally 
reached their destination. 

**It may have been that some of the 'men folks' had come 
on in advance and made ready a log cabin, or it may have 
been, which is more likely, that some neighbor in the East 
had settled in this community and the family would take in 
one more until a cabin could be thrown together from the 
rough logs of the timber, which then was plentiful enough 
for such purposes. 

**The corn was shared, the shelter divided, and no one 
thought of pay for such small services. The mill, if one was 
at hand, was the common property of all. 

**A11 the world, as far as it then appeared, to select from 
and not a soul to hinder; all the natural resources of the 
unbroken land, the riches of fields as yet untouched; the 
promises of riches unstinted, if he but used the resources at 
his disposal. 

To fij: upon some line of attack in his new field of activ- 
ity, the pioneer spent much time in the consideration of the 

Johnson Comity Old Settlers* Association 15 

problem confronting him, and laid his plans in advance. He 
came prepared to make improvements immediately on the 
soil that it might at the earliest moment produce something 
to feed his family. If he came in the fall of the year, he must 
expect to buy, borrow, or secure by barter something to 
keep him until spring. It was often possible to find the 
supply of game sufficient to furnish the meat for the winter, 
yet this was not a safe proposition, for in many instances 
the winter was too severe to find game, and some of those 
first settlers tell to-day that they had no means of securing 
the abundant supply that could have been had otherwise. 

Since that distant day the wonderful richness of the 
prairie land in its game products has become a word only. 

**In the language of one of Iowa's gifted writers, *the 
' cref'TiiTiP:- on of civilisation during the last seventy years has 
wrought many marvelous changes. The man with the buck- 
skin suit, the long rifle, the double barreled shot gun, with 
the sheath knife and the hand axe dangling at his belt, silent 
during the busy hours, except when spoken to, yet garrulous 
enough when over an evening pipe lighted at the camp fire, 
has passed av^^ay from the middle West.' . . . The 
steady and unwavering attitude of the pioneer is the attrac- 
tion that appeals to us ; that is what excites our admiration, 
and secures for him our profound respect, while we cannot 
attempt to solve some of his perplexing riddles of an eco- 
nomic nature, and his willingness to plant for those who now 


There is perhaps no building in the State of Iowa that 
possesses so much of historical interest as the Old Capitol 
structure on the University campus. 

The 37th General Assembly, recognizing the danger of 

16 Johnson County Old Settlers^ Association 

its disintegration and decay, appropriated the sum of 
$50,000 to adequately fireproof the building for preser- 

It vras found that this sum was insufficient to properly 
accomplish the purpose and the 40th General Assembly 
added an additional appropriation of $50,000. 

The work has now been largely finished and the people 
of Iowa have the assurance that their old first capitol build- 
ing will be preserved to the future generations. 

There has been no change in the structure or design of 
the building, either inside or outside. 

The west portico, which through all these years was left 
uncompleted, has been added. The building throughout has 
been made thoroughly fireproof and modern. 

The dome has been beautifully gilded and the building 
now presents a fine appearance. 

The people of Johnson County should be especially proud 
of the location of the Old Capitol within the borders of our 

With the flight of years it will be to all lowans an object 
of increased interest and affection. One hundred years 
hence this building will be to the people of this state what 
the Bunker Hill monument is to the people of the United 

It will be the Mecca to which thousands of loyal lowans 
will annuaUy come, and the interest and affection will in- 
crease with the years. 


It is indeed marvelous that men still live who helped 
fashion and build the Old Capitol building. 

M. A. B. Seydel, who is still living in Iowa City, was a 

Johnson County Old Settlers' Association 17 

workman on this building. We are informed that he assist- 
ed in fashioning the circular columns in the front portico. 

M. A. Foster, a pioneer carpenter of Iowa City, recently 
passed away and we append the notice of his death, ap- 
pearing in the Press-Citizen: 

Another of the noble builders of a noble institution — 
the Old Capitol of Iowa — is dead. 

Marcus Aurelius Foster, a pioneer carpenter of Iowa 
City, who with Mr. M. A. Seydel participated in the con- 
struction of the statehouse that is now a keystone on the 
campus, passed away Wednesday, August 1st, in Colorado 

He was one of the men who hewed out the very pillars 
that now hold place in the classic foreground of the Old 
Capitol. He was a member oi ihe staff of Mr. R. M. Fink- 
bine, the pioneer contractor, who built the new capitol at 
Des Moines. 

Mr. Foster passed his early life here. He has been gone 
many years, more than sixty. He located in Colorado 
Springs long ago, and there owned what is now Sratton 
Park, which was part of his ranch once upon a time. 

He has been retired for years, after serving his adopted 
state long after the Pikers Peak or Bust^' pilgrimage, in 
which he joined. He was an able and popular member of 
the legislature of Colorado, and was otherwise prominent. 

His son and four daughters survive. Mr. W. E. C. Foster 
of Iowa City is a brother. 

Old time friends in Iowa City will mourn the good pio- 
neer's death.'' 


Matthew Cavanagh, Esquire, is the only survivor of those who came to 
Johneon County in 1839. He is now in his 92nd year. He has lived longer in 

18 Johnson County Old Settlers* Associatioyi 

Johnson County continuously than any other living person. At our request he 
has furnished for the Annual the following article reminiscent of the early 
history of this county. — Editor. 

In the early territorial days of Iowa, there lived in Iowa 
City a man who became the first superintendent of public 
instruction for the territory of Iowa. This man was James 
Harlan, and he aftersvards attained great distinction as a 
public man. He became senator, representing the State of 
Iowa, in the United States senate and became a member at 
one time of the Cabinet of President Lincoln. 

Kobert T. Lincoln, son of President Lincoln, married the 
daughter of Mr. Harlan. 

The writer well remembers Mr. Harlan, who lived in a 
small house on Dubuque Street, opposite the northwest 
corner of the block now occupied by the State University 
for hospital grounds. 

Mr. Harlan would have his fire wood hauled up in sled 
load lengths and would chop it up ready for use with his 
ax. When he would get tired and wanted to rest, he would 
sit down on a log, and would sometimes sit there for a long 
time, apparently pondering and studying deeply some com- 
plicated or troublesome subject, or it may be something 
that was pleasant. 

Mr. Harlan would at times go out into Cedar Township 
where the wTiter then lived, and would give a lecture on 
some subject in wiiich he was interested, and thought would 
be of interest to the people. On these occasions Mr. Harlan 
never failed to interest his audiences, particularly the 
younger part of them, who always were sure to be present 
if possible. 

Oilman Folsom was also a prominent man among the 
early settlers of Johnson County. He was a native of New 
Hampshire and was a graduate of Dartmouth College, the 
same college from which Daniel Webster graduated. He 

Johnson County Old Settlers' Association 19 

was elected to the Iowa Legislature in its territorial days, 
and was a conspicuous figure in the enactment of its laws. 

Mr. Folsom early established a ferry across the Iowa 
Eiver, at Iowa City, which was a very important thing for 
Iowa City and vicinity. He engaged extensively in farming 
and stock raising and was the owner of a large tract of land 
adjoining Iowa City, on the west side of the river. This 
land was entered from the government by Pleasant Arthur, 
the father of Mrs. Folsom. All of the large tract of land, 
recently taken over by the State University on the west side 
of the river, is a part of this original entry. 

Mr. Folsom was a man of very marked ability, as well as 
of marked eccentricities. He was a very able law^^er and 
was noted for his sarcastic thrusts. 

He was a vtny cuu«iueidte and obliging neighbor, and 
the following incident illustrates this trait. A tree on the 
land of Mr. Folsom stood close to the line of the Byington 
land and shaded the garden. Hearing that Mrs. Byington 
had remarked that the tree shaded her garden, Mr. Folsom 
went at once to the Byington home with his hired man and 
said that the tree should be removed, and it was forthwith 
cut down and removed. This illustrates some of the amen- 
ities of pioneer life in Johnson County. 


The following stanzas of poetry — an ode to Iowa and Johnson County — 
were written by Mr. W. F. Murphy, a prominent attorney of Iowa City, who 
has been a life long resident of Johnson County. 

He has also composed musie for the ode and a choir of trained singers will 
render the selection at the annual gathering of the Old Settlers at the City 
Park on September 6, 1923. 

We have no doubt that this will add a very enjoyable feature to our meeting 
this year. 

Printed copies of the ode will be distributed among those present and it is 

20 Johyison County Old Settlers* Association 

hoped that this may be made a permanent ode to be sung at the gatherings of 
the old settlers of this county. 

There is a land, a wondrous land, where God His richest 

gifts hath given, 
"Where all surroundings are disposed to change our 

thoughts from earth to heaven; 
Her glorious hills, her fertile plains, her sparkling streams 

and forests grand, 
In all the world are unsurpassed, it is to all a promisel land. 
Oh, Iowa, Great Iowa, it is to Thee our voices raise — 
Oh, may we all, with heart and soul, unite to sing Thy 


In that broad land so good and kind, there is one spot of 

greatest worth, 
A welcoming home to all who seek, from far and near, o'er 

all the earth. 

A gracious culture there prevails, an earthly prize beyond 

compare; ilu/ikw^ 
And charm and grace of mind/^obtam with all abiding there. 
Johnson County^ Johnson County, it is to Thee our voices 

raise — 

Oh, may we all, with heart and soul, unite to sing Thy 

IOWA IN 1846 

In the year 1846 Mrs. Charles W. Irish, who is still living, 
made the trip with her family from North Carolina to the 
far off State of Iowa. To give some idea of such a trip to 
the present generation, we quote a brief description from 
an article written by Mrs. Irish a number of years ago, de- 
scribing the journey: 

**0n the 18th of November, 1846, we arrived at our desti- 

Johnson County Old Settlers^ Association 21 

nation — a cabin home three miles east of Iowa City. There 
were fifteen in our party and we made the long and arduous 
trip in six weeks. We had only two teams and wagons ; of 
course the prairie schooners were crowded and as the chil- 
dren of those days were supposed never to weary we were 
coaxed and cajoled into walking much of the way. I feel 
sure that I did my full share of treking, and can yet feel the 
blisters and stone bruises on my heels, when I recall that 
pioneer journey. Bridges were scarce in those days, and 
the greatest pleasure that came to us youngsters on the 
trip, w^as that derived from crossing shallow streams on 
foot-logs or by wading ; and finest of all when the water was 
too deep for our childish limbs — being carried over on the 
shoulders of our brother-in-law, James Hill. 

••'vV'hen I jur»L saw Iowa, it was a vast expanse of brown 
and blackened prairie, stre^vn thickly over w^ith the bones of 
many animals that had been victims of prairie-fires that had 
recently consumed them while burning the rank grasses of 
the prairie. 

*'The deep snows of that winter and the warm, gentle 
rains of the following spring obliterated this gruesome 
scene by scattering beautiful verdure and flowers over these 
remains. The beauties of spring also dispelled my home- 
sick longings for my old plantation home in the sunny 

* * Corn and hominy were the chief articles of diet in those 
first years of our pioneering in Iowa. The winter of ^46 
was so cold that the water wheels of the little mill on the 
Iowa were frozen up ; therefore, bread was a luxury to the 
settlers. Corn sold for five cents a bushel. With this in- 
expensive corn meal, we had for food the wild game and 
fowls that were so abundant here in those days. Often the 
wild fowls were so hungry that large flocks of them came to 
the barnyards searching for food, and the farmers set traps 

22 Johnson County Old Settlers' Association 

there and wliere wild turkeys roosted, catching them in 
plenty. I have seen a dozen turkeys secured at one time in 
the traps. In those days there was no need for anyone to 
go hungry. ' ' 


Within the past few weeks two residents of this com- 
munity have celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of 
their birth. This is a noteworthy event. 

Miss Charlotte Stone, who has long been a resident of 
Iowa City, entertained her friends on the occasion of her 
hundredth birthday anniversary. Although bed ridden for 
several years, as the result of a fall, she has maintained her 
eueeriui aiiiiude toward life, and attained a truly remark- 
able age. 

A few weeks later Mr. Anton Linder, one of the pioneers 
of our county, celebrated his hundredth anniversary, sur- 
rounded by his children, grand children, great grand chil- 
dren and friends. 

Several years ago at the annual meeting a committee was 
appointed to search out the various important spots of 
historical interest in Johnson County and report them to 
the society to the end that proper action might be taken 
looking to the marking of these spots. 

With the passing of nearly all of the pioneers of the 
county, these places will soon be simply a matter of tradi- 
tion, and their locations wall not be accurately known. 

It is a matter of regret that attention is not given to this 
important matter and we would urge that speedy action be 
taken by the association, in order that these items of his- 
torical importance be preserved to future generations. The 
committee has not reported. 

Henry J. Wiexeke 

Johyison Counfi/ Old Settlers' Association 23 

In the passing of Henry J. Wieneke the county has lost 
one of its real pioneers. For more than forty years he was 
the faithful secretary of the Old Settlers' Association, only 
retiring shortly before his death and only at the imperative 
demands of physical debility and suffering. He was a 
familiar figure at the annual gatherings of the association 
for nearly t^vo generations. 

He was deeply interested in all of the activities of the 
association and never spared time or effort in his devotion 
to its upbuilding. 

Henry Wieneke served his country faithfully as a soldier 
of the Civil "VYar. Enlisting in 1861, he was sent with a 
company against the hostile savages of the northwest, 
where he fought gallantly throughout the campaign against 
the painted tribes. 

His service was notable in the campaign that drove the 
Sioux tribes from that section of the country. 

Throughout his long business career he was noted for his 
rugged honesty and unimpeachable integrity. 

He was an earnest and active member of the Lutheran 
church and a good citizen in every sense of the word. 

He will be missed and sincerely mourned by the entire 
community, and will be especially missed by the remaining 
old settlers, with whom he was so intimately associated. 

When we gather this year at the City Park, we have no 
doubt that Henry Wieneke will be there in spirit, and the 
minds of all those attending will picture his familiar figure, 
and sadly miss his handshake and greeting. 

24 Johnson County Old Settlers' Association 


Since our last annual gathering Hon. J. D. Bowersock 
has passed to the Great Bej'ond. His death occurred at 
Lawrence, Kansas, of which city he has long been a resi- 
dent, in October, 1922. 

Mr. Bowersock was one of the well known pioneer resi- 
dents of Johnson County. Eemoving to Lawrence, Kansas, 
many years ago he became one of the wealthiest and most 
influential residents of his adopted state. He was a man of 
great public spirit and of broad views. 

He served his state for several terms in Congress with 
much distinction. Several years ago he arranged to attend 
onr ?nr«"'."!'^^ TYioo+;-»n^ o-r.-^ renew his acquaintanceship with 
the old settlers of this community, and to give the annual 
address. But he was prevented from attending by illness. 

Many of the pioneers, who are still surviving, will recall 
Mr. Bowersock as one of the live merchants of Iowa City 
five decades ago. 

How many residents of this county can locate : 

(a) The spot where the first Territorial Capitol stood 
in Iowa City. 

(b) The location of the first farm opened in Johnson 

(c) Where the first trading house was located. 

(d) The location of the first county seat. 

(e) The first dam across the Iowa Eiver. 

(f ) The first ferry operated in the county. 

(g) The first grist mill to be operated. 

(h) The location in Iowa City of the building in which 
the present Constitution of Iowa was framed. 

(i) The location of Camp Pope occupied by the soldiers 
of the Civil War. 

(j) Where in Iowa City the first State fair was held. 


Ruth Osborne 

List of names of Old Settlers "who died during the year 
from September 1, 1922, to September 1, 1923. 



Henrj C. Bradley 

Mrs. Hattie Hinkley 8 80 

Daniel A. Dewey 85 

George Stramp 

Mrs. Catherine Strub 64 

Mrs. Anna Grin del 89 

Mrs. L. A. Alt 30 

OCTOBER, 1922 

Frederick Dikel 3 84 

Benjamin Hull 4 

Garrett Wright 8 70 

Mrs. Ella Murray Ashley 

J. D. Bowersock 81 

Mrs. Bernice Westfall 11 

John Schaapvelt 67 

Mrs. Elizabeth Strabley... 15 

Mrs. John McQuiston 15 

Edward Dvorsky 17 48 

Arthur Anthony 17 43 

Mrs. Petra 21 

Mrs. Josephine Murphy 21 


Mrs. J. Guzeman 2 

Mrs. Hugh McCleary 2 

Joseph Kehrer 7 27 

Edwin Shrader 13 27 

Mrs. Caroline Maske 15 83 

Mrs. Mary Mahoney 17 87 


Mrs. Jas. Ash 20 78 

Robert Reese 21 64 

Mrs. R. E. Freeman 22 42 


Mrs. Lavina "Walker 1 79 

Mrs, Ray Weldy 

Herman Garrett 2 82 

Chas. Sterret 10 42 

Mrs. Jos. Glassman 12 80 

Harry C. Smith 19 78 

Ira J. Alder 20 78 

Mrs. J. H. Bott 30 

Will Carson 30 

JANUARY, 1923 

Mrs. Louisa King 3 94 

Martin Panzer 7 81 

Jas. Green 8 

Mrs. Jas. Critz 9 81 

Frank Brown 9 96 

Mrs. Anna Cerhan 10 82 

Mrs. Aaron Albright 11 48 

Frank Shrader 12 64 

Lucy Mannagh 12 70 

Frank Dunkel 14 68 

Mrs. Mary Huffman 14 74 

Jas. Kasparek 14 74 

Jacob Hadesh 17 89 

Mrs. John Costello 18 86 

Thos. B. Hughes 18 61 

Margaret Watkins 21 62 

26 Johnson Count i/ Old Settlers' Association 


Mrs. Wm. Sass 23 7S 

Daniel McCabe 25 64 

Mrs. J. C. Wynn 26 

Geo. Graef 29 79 

Mrs. B. M. Oglevee 30 62 

T. J. Bigg 


Mrs. Agnes Slemmons 6 

Mrs. M. C. Baker 6 78 

Wm. Dennison 89 

Mrs. Jos. Pauba 12 75 

Henry Morrow 13 50 

Emory Westcott 14 84 

Gustavus D. Hinrichs 86 

Mrs. Ed. Clinton 

Mrs. Vannie B. Clark 68 

"M"!^ Af^.-T' pV-V^ .IS 

Henry J. Wieneke 18 85 

Mrs. Geo. W. Johnston 76 

Harry Strohmeyer 25 

Patrick Eussell 26 

Peter Meesz 76 

Jolin Kutchera 28 39 

MARCH, 1923 

Mary MeCleary 4 75 

Adelaide Douglas Cochran.. 4 

John Cericey 5 

Wm. Huffman 6 71 

Mrs. Roger Swire 6 

J as. Lux 7 

Mrs. Kate O'Meara 12 

Frank Wyjack 12 76 

C. S. Welch 16 74 

Lydia McKray 16 77 

Chas. Geisz 17 41 

Mrs. Jos. Rinella 17 

Guy Newcomb 18 63 

Henry Karns 18 76 

Mrs. Wm. Breese 21 57 

Chas. Sherrer 21 43 

Ann G. Hughes 21 71 

Wm. Strong 2S 64 

Chas. Brandstetter 29 63 

APRIL, 1923 

Mrs. Emma Wolfe 1 

Mrs. Jos. Pisarik 3 44 

J. C. Wical 6 59 

Mrs. Ora C. Hoffman 10 56 

Mrs. Frances Anciaux 10 59 

Henry Schmidt 15 

W. J. Yogt 

Mrs. Anton Vesely 

Mrs. Geo. Cleveland 81 

Spear T. Harman 71 

Mrs. Margaret Davis 15 86 

Lillian Ochs 15 56 

Mrs. Mattie Conn 80 

Mrs. M. Dwyer 18 83 

Mrs. Frank Slavata 18 63 

Mrs. Julius Haberstroh. . . . 19 

Miss Laura Barnes 20 68 

August B. Nelson 20 63 

Mrs. Ida Sehnoebelen 21 31 

Lee Blakesley 22 

David O'Connell 22 80 

Dennis Mahoney 23 74 

John J. Hatch 26 77 

George Konvalinka 29 50 

Mrs. Robert Adams 29 62 

MAY, 1923 

Jane Westcott 2 90 

Mrs. Wm. Seamark 3 78 

Mrs. Louis Lyou 13 

Mrs. Orville Snow 13 27 

.Tos. J. Beranek 18 68 

Mrs. John Eggenberg 19 60 

Mrs. Anna Hibl 21 90 

Louis Eppel 23 48 

Chas. Hadesh 24 

JUNE, 1923 

Brewster Gardner 1 65